NORRISTOWN — Montgomery County has launched a hotline for residents who have general questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine.
The hotline number is (833) 875-3967. The hotline operates Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with live operators who can answer general COVID-19 questions. The hotline has Spanish-speaking agents and language line support for over 100 different languages.
The supply of vaccination doses the county has received continues to fall far short of the demand. As of last week, 153,000 people were pre-registered to receive their first dose of the vaccine. But the county expected to receive only 3,900 first doses last week, and received only 1,000 first doses the previous week, said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
“The good news is that we did receive 5,800 second doses this week and continue to have the appropriate number of second doses to administer to those who got their first dose from us at the Montgomery County Community College clinic,” she said last week.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine, and the county is booking appointments to match its supply of the vaccine, so people who register may have to wait six to 12 weeks to hear back from the county about scheduling an appointment.
Appointments will be made only for people who qualify for Phase 1A, which includes people ages 65 and older and people ages 18-64 with specific underlying medical conditions known to be associated with severe cases of COVID-19. For more information is available about the 1A criteria or request an appointment, visit www.montcopa.org/covid-19vaccine.
As of last week, the county was booking appointments for people who pre-registered on Jan. 12. Residents can check their status at the county’s vaccine status page, which lists the number of requests by date of registration. The county’s website for coronavirus information is at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19.
People who are scheduled for an appointment will assigned to receive their vaccination at either Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell or at Norristown Area High School in Norristown. The vaccine clinics run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. There is no option to choose where the vaccination is given.
“As more vaccine doses become available, more appointment slots and vaccination clinics will be opened,” the county said in a press release. “The public should not call these [vaccination] sites directly, they are hosting the clinics and have no information on vaccine distribution.”
Other pharmacies and doctor’s offices in the county and region are receiving the vaccine and have their own registration process. The county has control over how the vaccine is distributed at those sites, which receive the vaccine directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department’s website at health.pa.gov has a list of vaccine providers, which change weekly. Wherever a resident goes to receive their first dose of vaccine is where they need to go to get their second dose.
Residents are encouraged to check the county’s frequently asked questions webpage on the COVID-19 vaccine, which is being updated weekly.
Montgomery County continues to offer COVID-19 testing to anyone who lives, works or goes to school in the county. Testing is offered at various hours each weekday at six locations across the county, weather permitting. Appointments can be made on weekdays starting at 7 a.m. online or starting at 8:30 a.m. by calling (610) 970-2937.